Australia's two richest billionaires wealthier than bottom fifth of population

Australia's two richest billionaires wealthier than bottom fifth of population

SBS World News Radio: Australia's two richest billionaires are wealthier than the bottom 20 per cent of the population. 

SBS World News Radio: Australia's two richest billionaires are wealthier than the bottom 20 per cent of the population.

 

International aid agency, Oxfam, says it's part of a widening global divide with the wealth of just eight of the world's wealthiest people, equal to that of billions of people in its poorest half.

It's a damning comparison from Oxfam campaigns director Matthew Spencer that highlights the extent of social inequality across the globe.

"You could get the number of billionaires that have the same wealth as half of the rest of the world on one golf buggy. We have an economic system that is warped out of shape which means that the 1% benefit rather than the 99 per cent. People are feeling less involved in the success of their nation and their society and more and more disatisfied with the status quo."

As the most wealthy and powerful convene for the World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski resot of Davos, a report by the international aid group Oxfam has highlighted just what challenges they face in tackling poverty.

The world's richest men are worth more than $620 billion.

That's roughly the same as half the world's population.

In Australia, the divide is just as stark.

Our two richest billionaires, Gina Rinehart and Harry Triguboff alone, have as much money as the poorest 20 per cent of their fellow citizens put together, although their charitable support is also notable.

The Oxfam analysis also reveals the richest one per cent of Australians own more wealth than the bottom 70 per cent, and it's prompted calls from Oxfam Chief Executive, Dr Helen Szoke, for the federal government to crack down on the billions of dollars in tax avoided by the super-wealthy and big corporations.

"I think Australians would be shocked when you are talking about big figures like six billion dollars annually that's potentially bering ripped out of our system here."

She says the Davos meeting provides a chance for political and business leaders to act on global inequality.

"One way it could be addressed is by national governments committing to a much greater level of transparency around taxation paid and by business leaders saying we will pave the way for this to occur in the businesses we are part of."

A call for concrete steps to narrow an ever-widening wealth divide.

 

 

 

 

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